Day 7, July 4
It was around 1 am and I was lying in the dark watching the walls of the tent bow in. The wind was gusting across the wheatgrass field adjacent to our campsite. I wondered if Eli’s idea of sleeping in the car might have been smart. There was lightening, after all, even if there wasn’t rain yet. Weren’t cars supposed to be safe in lightening? And my tent was under a tree, which seemed like a good idea when the hot sun was shining earlier, but maybe was not such a good idea in a storm. I was just thinking about the fact that we were technically still in Tornado Alley when I caught a faint whiff of smoke. Surely no one was trying to start a campfire in this! Just then my phone rang, it was Eli, “Mom, I think there’s a fire in the field!”
The next five minutes were a blur. I ran out of the tent and looked over to see a glowing orangish-red ball at the other side of the large field. I heard sirens in the distance. Eli saw me run out of the tent and he got out of the car. I began barking orders at him, “Put up the chairs! Help me get the food bin in the car! Help me get the tent down!”
The only other tent campers in the campground had given up an hour or so before when the wind started blowing at gale force. Why had I been so stubborn?
The fire was still a good distance away from us, but we weren’t going to hang around to see if the firemen would get it under control. That wheatgrass looked like it would burn, and the wind was blowing toward the campground. We threw the tent in the car and closed the trunk just as the bottom fell out of the sky.
As we pulled out of the campground, we both started laughing hysterically. I was shaking from the adrenaline. I had never moved so fast and had certainly never seen my teenage son follow orders so quickly! We had seen REAL fireworks on the 4th of July!
We decided that since we were wide awake we would just drive all the way to Taos, New Mexico (our next stop). But when the adrenaline wore off, Eli fell asleep and I could barely keep my eyes open. We stopped at a Days Inn somewhere on the other side of Amarillo at around 2 am, dragged ourselves into a room and crashed for the rest of the night. That was the second night we DIDN’T spend outside…
Today’s song of the night is Firework by Katy Perry